As moms, we are constantly measuring, recording & evaluating our kids. Then we take those measurements and compare them to the kids of our friends, siblings, fellow church-goers, strangers in the grocery. Always looking and checking to make sure our kids are progressing an acceptable rate, hopefully better, faster, quicker than their peers, but at least not too far behind.
As moms of kids with special needs, it's a whole other story. We're not so much focused on how our child progresses compared to other children, but rather on whether they're progressing at all. Whether their growth & development is on par with how THEY should be (perhaps a slight comparison to other children with the same diagnosis, but mostly not). It’s amazing how, when you’re dealing with a life that is different
in its development, how the simplest milestones are a big deal &
the big milestones?? Are earth-shattering.
Due to having Down Syndrome, Henry was naturally slow in his development. He rolled over later, sat up later, crawled later - all of it. Which is difficult when comparing to neuro-typical children, but totally normal within his sub-group. The most difficult part? Watching children I knew who were born at the same time or after Henry pass him by.
When it came to walking, Henry was very, very delayed. We knew he’d be
late, but we hoped that meant 18 months or maybe 2 years. When 3 came
and went, we were frustrated, but kept reminding ourselves “Henry will
do it when he’s ready”. Which turned out to be at 3 1/2, at summer
That day, he took 5 or 6 steps straight into my arms as I picked him
up from school. Then we came home & I made him walk everywhere. To
his high chair for lunch. Back to the living room to watch Elmo. To his
room for his nap. And I was sobbing like Sobby McWeeperton during The
Grand Festival of Sobbing & Weeping. I was really looking forward
to Steve coming home so he could see it. And this is how great he is -
when I got a hold of him to tell him the news, he said, “What kind of
cake should I get?” I just went, “Duh….what?” And he said, “To
celebrate. We’re having a cake.” How cool is that???
So when he got home, we had a performance in the living room
followed by everyone enjoying some lovely chocolate cake as we sang,
“Happy Walking to You”. I captured a little on video.
It's amazing to me how much these milestones mean to us parents who face our childrens' struggles. I'm so glad to have this experience with Henry. To be able to rejoice and get so much more excited about milestones. To be thankful about reaching milestones and conquering obstacles - because our kids, honestly, had to work a little bit harder to reach them.